Congo estimates Uganda’s own again

Congo once estimated Uganda owed it US$10 billion for invading in the 1990s, but said Tuesday it was reassessing now that the International Court of Justice has ruled the invasion unlawful and for the first time ordered an African country to pay reparations. In Uganda meanwhile, the military denied the court's findings it had violated human rights and plundered the mineral resources of Congo.

Congolese Information Minister Henri Mova-Sakanyi said that before Monday's ruling, Congo had estimated damages from Uganda's invasion at US$10 billion. "We are re-evaluating the damages," he said, adding he had no idea whether Congo would in the end ask for more or less, or if the final figure would differ significantly from US$10 billion (about Ђ8 billion). He said the re-evaluation was standard procedure before making a formal request at the International Court of Justice. Mova-Sakanyi said compensation "could include money for projects to rebuild regions that Uganda invaded."

Uganda's was among armies from six neighboring nations involved in "Africa's world war," a conflagration fueled by hunger for Congo's mineral wealth that left nearly 4 million people dead. Most of the foreign fighters are gone and the worst of the fighting ended in 2002, but Congo has been left in tatters. Mova-Sakanyi said he expected Congo's reparations evaluation to be completed before the end of this week, when the government would make a public announcement.

The Hague, Netherlands-based tribunal, also known as the world court, said it would determine the amount of reparations if the two sides cannot reach a negotiated agreement. The world court has awarded reparations in several previous cases, but court officials said they could not recall another case of damages involving nations in Africa. The court held Uganda responsible for killing, torture and cruel treatment of civilians in Congo and called the invasion an "unlawful military intervention", reports the AP. N.U.

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